Growing up in the theatre, Haley Mae Campbell’s love for performance is innate. While not all aspects of her early days in the theatre have stuck with her, her fire and passion for creating music has only grown over the years. Now 22, Campbell feels that she’s done a lot of growing up throughout her early years in Nashville both musically and personally, her new EP aptly titled “Growing Up” is the perfect encapsulation of that growth. The EP is one that is both personal yet incredibly relatable and shows Campbell as the tremendously talented songstress she is.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Haley about “Growing Up” and her early days in Nashville.
Worlds Of Country: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
Haley: Well it’s kind of funny, I didn’t grow up listening to country music. Then, I was driving around one time when I was a teenager listening to the radio in Charleston and Kenny Chesney’s “Somewhere With You” came on and I was hooked, and it wasn’t even a new song at that point but I just couldn’t get over it. My other influences would be a lot of Taylor Swift and Allison Krause.
Worlds Of Country: When did you know music was what you wanted to with your life?
Haley: I grew up doing musical theatre, so I’ve always had this love for performing, and while the acting and dancing aspects didn’t stick the music has always stuck with me. I really knew when I got my first guitar and I just could not put it down for the life of me that music was all I ever wanted to do.
Worlds Of Country: How were you your early days in Nashville? Was it easy to find people to work with?
Haley: Because I was so young when I moved here it actually wasn’t so easy to find people to work with. Most of the big networking events for songwriters are 21 and up and I was only 18 at the time, so it was a little bit of a struggle at the beginning. I’m super grateful to people like Angel Edwards, who wrote “Anything But Yellow” with me and Jerry Jacobs who is also a Charleston native, for working with me during those early days in Nashville.
Worlds Of Country: How long has the EP been in the works for?
Haley: Whether or not we knew it at the time this EP has been in the works since we put out “Anything But Yellow”, which is almost two years ago now. At the time I didn’t know how this project would like, and actually Covid allowed me to make some different song choices than I may have otherwise. For example this was the perfect time for a song like “Highway Honey” that I had sitting around for a while and didn’t really know what to do with.
This EP is a collection of songs that together tell the story of me “Growing Up” and my first few years in Nashville.
Worlds Of Country: Which song on the project was the easiest to write and which was the hardest to write?
Haley: It’s kind of funny that “Anything But Yellow”, the song that has the most streams behind it and that ended on the Hot Country playlist was probably the easiest song to write, which just shows that the songs that need to come out of you will. On the other hand, “Ghost Stories” is the song that we had to work the hardest for.
Worlds Of Country: Which song on the project is the most personal to you?
Haley: The two that are the most real to me are “Grey”, which the classic story of this undefined relationship caught somewhere between friends and more than friends, and then the title track which really, really means a lot to me.
Worlds Of Country: Without the ability to play real shows do you feel you’ve found a way to promote this project that works?
Haley: It’s definitely been tough not being able to play love shows, because performing is my first love but I feel that social media is so important these days as well. We did a livestream of our release party which was a really cool thing and something I’d like to keep doing after we start touring again, because it allows people to feel like they’re at a show even if they can’t actually be there.
Worlds Of Country: Was the social media aspect easy to embrace or were you reluctant to it at first?
Haley: As an artist I always had the bread and butter ones like Facebook and Instagram but now with tiktok being what it is it’s kind of a whole new world of there which I’m still trying to figure out. It took a while to really embrace tiktok but what I really like about tiktok is that it is not a highlight reel like the other social media sites and I feel like I can just be myself over there which is a really nice thing.
Be sure to check out Haley’s EP “Growing Up” wherever you listen to music!